Digestive System – How It Works?


Have you ever wondered what happens to the food you take inside? If so, this post might help give you a better understanding of our digestive system. The digestive system is a bunch of organs working simultaneously to convert food into nutrients to feed all the body parts. Frist off, the food you eat passes through a lengthy tube called gastrointestinal tract or alimentary canal. The gastrointestinal tract consists of pharynx, oral cavity, stomach, esophagus, small and large intestines. Apart from GI tract, there’re multiple accessory organs helping our body digest food quickly and easily. These accessory organs include teeth, salivary glands, tongue, liver, pancreas and gallbladder.


To convert food into energy, six important functions have been performed by our digestive system:

  • Ingestion
  • Mixing & Movement
  • Secretion
  • Digestion
  • Absorption and Excretion

The food we eat starts its long journey from our mouth known as oral cavity. There’re multiple accessory organs aiding the process of food digestion – teeth, tongue, and salivary glands. Our teeth play a vital role chopping the food into several small pieces that are sent to pharynx with the support of multiple mouth muscles.

After pharynx, the food goes into a long muscular tube called Esophagus connecting the throat (pharynx) to the stomach. It carries chopped, swallowed food, helping the food make its way to the stomach, where it’s stored to help digest large meals easily. The digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid present in stomach help in the process of digestion.

The food then goes into small intestine, which is a thin, long tube with 10 feet length and 1-inch diameter, covering the most area of the abdominal cavity. It has many folds and ridges to maximize the nutrients absorption and food digestion. Nearly all the nutrients have been taken and extracted from the food here. Once the food is stored in blocks, it’s available for our body to absorb. After being processed and extracted, the indigestible material excretes from our body through a process called defecation.